Kairos and Materion commission molten salt purification plant

20 July 2022

The plant, designed by Kairos Power and based at the Materion campus in Elmore, Ohio in the USA, will produce high-purity fluoride salt coolant to be used in high-temperature molten salt reactors.

The Molten Salt Purification Plant (Image: Kairos Power)

Kairos Power's fluoride salt-cooled high-temperature reactor (KP-FHR) is cooled by a mixture of lithium fluoride and beryllium fluoride salts known as Flibe, which is chemically stable and operates at low pressure. The molten salt coolant will be used in Karios's engineering test unit and proposed Hermes demonstration reactor as well as future commercial KP-FHR reactors.

Materion is an industry leader in the production and manufacturing of beryllium-based materials and the decision to locate the Molten Salt Purification Plant (MSPP) at its Elmore facility is said to "reinforce a long-term, strategic commitment by both companies to demonstrate leadership in molten salt production".

Ed Blandford, Chief Technology Officer and co-founder, Kairos Power, said: "We are thrilled to announce the commissioning of MSPP, a critical milestone to produce Flibe for KP-FHR technology and the cornerstone of our collaboration with Materion Corporation. MSPP represents a major investment in Kairos Power’s vertical integration strategy to achieve cost certainty by establishing commercial Flibe production. We have confidence in our ability to produce Flibe that meets our nuclear specification for Kairos Power’s testing programme at the scale necessary to supply our major hardware demonstrations."

Alan Kruizenga, senior director of salt chemistry and production at Kairos Power, said: "With MSPP we have scaled up a chemical process developed in Kairos Power’s Salt Lab to produce Flibe in large quantities with specifications that demonstrate our ability to deliver for ETU, Hermes and beyond ... we are grateful for the collaboration of the Materion team, who worked alongside us throughout the pandemic to help set up a critical manufacturing capability for Kairos Power while working through the challenges a new process and technology have associated with it."

Keith Smith, vice president of nuclear, science and government affairs at Materion, said: "The MSPP has been in design and process development for more than a year. This is the largest Flibe production facility ever built and has the capacity to generate commercial quantities of the material."

In April this year, Bruce Power, Constellation, Southern Company and Tennessee Valley Authority joined the Kairos Power Operations, Manufacturing and Development Alliance. The consortium’s goal is to advance the development of the company’s KP-FHR technology.

Kairos Power's construction permit application for the Hermes low-power demonstration reactor is currently under formal review by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Hermes is a demonstration version of the Alameda, California-based company's KP-FHR, a 140 MWe fluoride salt-cooled high temperature reactor using TRISO (TRI-structural ISOtropic) fuel pebbles with the low-pressure fluoride salt coolant. It is scheduled to be operational in 2026.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News